This time of year is always contemplative, as we reflect on the last 12 months and look forwards at the year ahead. But if the past two years have taught us anything, it is that the future of work is impossible to predict.
Hybrid working. Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI). Attrition. The way we think about, relate to and deliver work has transformed irrevocably. So as the new year begins, here are my observations about the seismic shifts that are taking place in the world of work.
The pandemic reminded us that life is short. Last year, workers across the world found the courage to ditch unfulfilling roles in what has been dubbed the ‘The Great Resignation’. Increased attrition will continue in 2022 and raise people costs for many companies.
Our own research revealed that nearly two-thirds of UK workers would leave their current employer within six months if they were unhappy, so it is critical that businesses recognise that a healthy work environment matters. Businesses that cling to out-of-date practices will find themselves losing talent in droves.
We’ve also seen a desire amongst companies for increased diversity, equality and inclusion, though many are still failing to achieve their DEI objectives. Evidently, training alone is not enough to spark real change. Younger entrants to the workforce are eschewing established businesses that do not align with their values on diversity, inclusion and the environment.
In 2022, companies will have no choice but to walk the talk when it comes to D&I. By proving that hybrid work is possible in many roles, 2021 has primed firms to access more diverse talent. Businesses will also increasingly look to ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support unbiased, data-driven recruitment and development decisions.
The pandemic heightened pre-existing demand for personal development. Early in 2021, the World Economic Forum predicted that half of employees will require re-skilling by 2025. Covid necessitated unprecedented levels of agility from businesses and individuals. This re-skilling trend will continue as recruiters and employers seek to remain competitive.
2022 will also see a new intensity in the so-called ‘War on Talent’. To win, business leaders must take immediate steps to understand the diverse traits, capabilities and motivations of their workforces. Only by gaining deep insight into what makes their people ‘tick’ can they attract and retain the talent required for the next phase of growth.
While some sectors like technology thrived in 2021, for many businesses in industries like hospitality and transport, it was an exceptionally challenging year. Speed and flexibility have been vital in managing transformational changes to businesses and lives.
I would like to commend and thank customers and colleagues throughout our global network for coping heroically with unprecedented uncertainty. I look forward to working together towards higher human achievement with greater optimism in this new year.